Best Horror Director

Discussion in 'Reader Polls' started by vampyr789, Jul 29, 2008.

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Best Horror Director

  1. Wes Craven

    3 vote(s)
    3.4%
  2. Dario Argento

    17 vote(s)
    19.5%
  3. Tobe Hooper

    1 vote(s)
    1.1%
  4. Lucio Fulci

    9 vote(s)
    10.3%
  5. Mario Bava

    2 vote(s)
    2.3%
  6. John Carpenter

    34 vote(s)
    39.1%
  7. George A. Romero

    12 vote(s)
    13.8%
  8. Alfred Hitchcock

    6 vote(s)
    6.9%
  9. Sam Raimi

    5 vote(s)
    5.7%
  10. David Cronenberg

    18 vote(s)
    20.7%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    For their entire body of work it was a close call between Carpenter and Cronenberg. Argento probably would have been in the running too if his last twenty years hadn't been so hit and miss. While I think Cronenberg is still making great films today, EASTERN PROMISES being a better later-career work than any of the other directors has accomplished, his films are so esoteric that I think it's easy to be consistent. Cronenberg's always been out on the fringe, and he's done great there. Carpenter, though, has been able to turn mainstream horror on its head a number of times, working within the Hollywood system and making films that are both totally accessible and deeply profound, depending on your viewpoint.

    There's this perception that Carpenter's trailed off over the years, but I've thoroughly enjoyed almost all of his later films, especially ESCAPE FROM L.A. and GHOSTS OF MARS. No matter the genre, Carpenter has always proven he can put himself and his preoccupations front and center in his films. Even Cronenberg can't say that with great anomalies like THE DEAD ZONE and EASTERN PROMISES. Carpenter's MASTERS OF HORROR episodes were decent, but don't feel the same without his scope framing. It looks like he's back into the thick of things with three projects as director, so hopefully some of those pan out and he proves to all that after a seven year hiatus from feature films - he's still got it!
     
  2. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    Uh...he did. He had to reshoot the movie to account for this, using Rob Bottin to up the on-screen violence and gore since early cuts of the film just couldn't hack it. THE FOG's a fabulous film, but it still relies (unsuccessfully at times, I think) on splatter techniques en vogue at the time. CHRISTINE is a much better example of fear through restraint.
     
  3. Angelman

    Angelman OCD Blu Ray Collector

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    I'll take Carpenter.

    Unlike Rhett, I don't think Escape from LA or Ghosts of Mars were even remotely good

    BUT:

    HALLOWEEN
    THE THING
    THE FOG
    ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK
    PRINCE OF DARKNESS

    For those 5 films alone, he will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.
     
  4. Spit

    Spit Active Member

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    I was having a hard time with Carpenter vs. Argento. In the end i decided that Carpenter makes 'movies', fun popcorn thrill rides. But Argento has made *some* real 'films'; works of art that I notice something new about every time I watch. That makes for a much more engaging experience.
     
  5. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    What makes The Thing absolutely awesome is not the special effects. The pyrotechnics are as beside the point as the are conspicuous. It's the way the drama unfolds between the men - the way they suspect each other, are willing to let each other die and even murder each other without definitive proof that the other guy is bad/infected. It's a state of paranoia and panic, and for all its merrits, The Fog simply doesn't explore human nature as deeply. It's just a good scary ride with a mostly superior cast.
     
  6. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I was tuning into our local horror host Svengoolie a few weeks ago and they showed a preview trailer for their next movie. Right away I pegged it as a pandering run of the mill late 80's mediocre fest which tries its best to soften every blow to cater to the main stream. Hell I'll say it, it looked made for TV.

    Then at the end a title came up, "Wes Craven's The People Under the Stairs" and I could NOT STOP LAUGHING. It doesn't matter if I see his name up front or not, I can still spot him out as a hack.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  7. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    Hack is a funny word. If Wes Craven is a hack, so are Fulci, Carpenter, Gordon, Hooper, many other directors of fair achievement in the genre. I'd ask you to explain yourself but a person who makes a statement like that probably doesn't have anything to back it up.



    Rhett, when was the last time you actually watched The Fog? They shot INSERTS and almost none of them were makeup or gore FX. A few shots of blades touching body parts (and if you'll remember, you'll notice there wasn't any blood in any of those scenes, nor things being chopped off, etc.) isn't the same thing as big creature and goo FX. Not even close. The only insert that actually contained any graphic FX was a closeup of the zombie-ghost's face on the top of the lighthouse after Adrienne Barbeau hooks it. Therefore, no splatter. And there's nothing unsuccessful about what Carpenter did with the ghosts. He was merely trying to show that they actually posed a threat. Christine is a whole different case altogether, and is also tactless, lacks style, is poorly written, and completely crude. I don't exactly think it makes Carpenter look any more talented.



    That is such bullshit. Sorry, but it is. I hear everyone say that. And it's crap.

    Yes I understand that's what Carpenter intended the movie to be. But seriously, just because that's the idea behind it doesn't mean it actually works. Carpenter turned into an action-director when he made Escape from New York. He lost all sense of subtlety, all ability to slowly and skillfully do anything. Because everything that happens (in Thing, Prince, Madness, They Live) reeks of suggesting there's gonna be an action scene any minute. What drama? Over the top scenes of guys yelling at each other? There's no arch here. No point of build-up. Therefore, no "unfold"ing whatsoever. It's all to the endth-degree. You know? There's no "calm" before the storm. It's all storm. And maybe people like that. So you're saying it's a good slice of intensity... Maybe. But I can't get into it because there is not sufficient build-up from the human characters about the human story. Carpenter lost that after The Fog.

    You say it's about the guys losing their sense of trust for each other... Look at the film: did they ever trust each other to begin with? They're always either at each others' throats or throwing sarcastic comments at each other. So, where exactly is the point in which they stop trusting each other? They never did. I say - bullshit. It's just snow, music that makes the camp look creepy and the weather feel cold, great cinematography and lighting, and a lot of ugly goo and creature FX. Nothing more. Alien dealt with tensions and frictions between its' crew much more intelligently, more skillfully, and with less humor and stupid one-liners.



    And that's all it needs to be. I'm glad The Fog didn't bother with all that crap. Not that I trust social-commentary coming from Carpenter anyway. He cares much more about action scenes than he ever did about social messages. That strikes me as cheap.
     
  8. shithead

    shithead Death By Ejaculation

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    Romero all the way.

    Night, Dawn, and Martin. Three of my favorite films.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2008
  9. allmessedup

    allmessedup It's beer time.

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    I will go with Cronenberg, because although he's got a few that I dislike, he's never had a period where he's stopped making quality films--I enjoy his recent films as much as his older films.
     
  10. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Brett Ratner makes more money then all of them combined: He's still a hack. He's a hack because he does what's expected from a genre and noting else. A hack is an ambulance chaser of Hollywood.

    Wes Craven doesn't have an original thought in his head, he's always chasing trends. You want facts just look at his filmography:
    Last House on the Left: Remake of Virgin Springs, copying NotLD and TCM.
    Nightmare on Elm Street: copying Black Christmas, Halloween, F13th, etc.
    Scream: Repackaged slasher, Kevin Williamson more to blame than Wes for "originality"

    Not a single film he's made has contributed to the genre beyond being another face in the crowd. If anything did it's Scream which he was a hired hand on and overall the film did more harm than good for horror.

    It's not a bad thing, he's provided genuine entertainment. That's fine, there's nothing wrong with that. I'm just calling him out for what he is. Craven doesn't push boundaries, he just steps in line. He's not a risk taker. Cronenberg seemingly does nothing but take risks, constantly pushing the boundaries. He contributes not only to horror but to cinema itself.

    To me in order to be the best you have to be in the forefront. Wes Craven is simply copying those that are in the forefront. He doesn't seem to make a move until Carpenter or Hooper do it first.
     
  11. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    [​IMG]
     
  12. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    Texas Chainsaw Massacre was made 2 years after Last House. And, I would really love to know where he ripped off or copied Night of the Living Dead in Last House. The Virgin Spring wasn't a horror film nor an exploitation film. So, say it's about ideas but he's one hell of a horror director. And he did take risks with that film. Even ask someone like Dwatts who bashes everything Craven made after Hills. Then, your comparing Wes Craven to a music video director is pretty ignorant. And stupid. Are you sure you meant to do that? Craven's style is not comparable to music videos in any way, shape, or form. Even Scream is filmed in a highly cinematic way.



    Don't forget: Poltergeist and Phantasm. :D Anyway, just because you point to films in a slasher trend does not mean he stole or copied anything from them. Especially from Friday the 13th. How do you think Nightmare copied from that film? The ending(?), which was New Line's fault. A film based on nightmares(?), seeing as how only the end to Friday the 13th delved into that area. I'd also love to hear how he copied Black Christmas in that film. As for Halloween, if he took the idea of a boogeyman from Michael Myers, he drastically changed it. Nightmare on Elm Street is, as an idea at least, a work of genius.



    Scream could not possibly be further from a "repackaged slasher." I can tell you're a very perceptive viewer. :rolleyes:



    That's the biggest bunch of bullshit I've ever heard. Not to mention the fact that John McNaughton has gone on record saying Last House on the Left influenced Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. And that Nightmare on Elm Street was hugely ripped off after it came out. And that Hills Have Eyes was the first casting of Dee Wallace (Stone) and turned Michael Berryman into an icon. And that now remakes and prequels are being planned or (have been) shot for at least 4 of his movies. And that his films kickstarted at least 2 serious franchises and inspired several other sequels (Swamp Thing, Hills).



    The film isn't to blame for that. It's the studios. How the hell were Cathy Woods, Craven, Marianne Maddalena, and Miramax supposed to know the movie would be a huge, multi-hundred million dollar grossing success? Variety predicted the film would be a D.O.A. in the box office ... while it was still in production. Put the blame where it really belongs: the money grubbing studio executives who put profits ahead of all else.



    Not really. You're making insane accusations. Hell, even though I think Carpenter is overrated, he's no hack. He can do it, he just doesn't try very hard. He's old and cynical and let bad box office get the best of him.



    I doubt you've taken a close enough look to see these things. Craven took risks with content time and time again (we'll ignore everything after Scream though). There's nothing more socially or politically or culturally shocking about Cronenberg's films than Craven's. So- I challenge you to define Cronenberg and his sense of "risk taking," how it honestly rivals anyone of his time (and remember that he hasn't made a true horror film since The Fly). Cronenberg's films work best when they put storytelling and character development above or equal-to the gross-out aspect. Don't forget how important those things are.
     
  13. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    First of all, your use of the words "crap" and "bullshit" makes me less inclined to approach your line of argumentation with an open mind and more inclined to assume that you are hot-tempered, narrow-minded, and incapable of participating in a fruitful discussion.

    A bunch of guys yelling at each is exactly what I would expect from a scenario like the one in The Thing.

    Calm before the storm? Well, maybe the lack of calm before the storm is exactly what prevented better team work in the first place. They've been cooped together for god knows how long, and most likely, they are getting on each others nerves by now. As a group, their uneasy infrastructure makes them vulnerable to infiltration, which I actually think is one of the movie's stronger points.

    I find The Thing elegant because it allows characters to go missing for larger spaces of time and then re-introduces them in a way that makes the audience uncertain if they are still the same character or if they have been in contact with with the hostile "other."
     
  14. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    Well I found nothing even remotely elegant about The Thing apart from the opening and closing credits sequence. My open mind was closed down by an irritatingly tactless film with no true sense of human build-up. So maybe you imagine there being a breakdown, but there's nothing for them to break down from. Constant human conflict between potential victims isn't necessary in a horror film and it bores the hell out of me. To say I/we "get the point already" to this film is one of the greatest understatements in cinematic history. There was no significant change in the behavior and demeanor of the crew whatsoever after finding The Thing. Only the dialogue was updated for the seriousness of their situation. So, the idea of tension between the characters building because of distrust is pretty ridiculous.

    Plus, the one-liners cheapened it further. And the characters didn't do anything. They barely even had jobs. Which makes the fact that there are a dozen of these guys pretty useless, except to up the body count. Very convenient. And, maybe most importantly of all- Alien already basically covered this ground. Everything Carpenter's Thing did marginally well, Alien already did spectacularly.

    As for me being hot-tempered, it's only because of people who respond to me with "spit-take" smilies and gif images from Scanners. What I have to say is valid, too. So, think whatever you want to about me. "It don't make no matter, one way or the other."
     
  15. Mok

    Mok Family is Forever

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    I'm convinced DVD-fanatic-9 is working undercover with either Dave or Rhett in some conspiracy to draw out future ban-ees.

    Either that or we are in the presence of Wes Craven himself.
     
  16. Kim Bruun

    Kim Bruun Resident Scream Queen

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    You can disagree with me all you want, and I'm cool with that - I just don't think dismissing the arguments of others as bullshit is particularly classy.

    However, I don't think comparing Alien to The Thing is particularly useful. They are two completely different animals. Both deal with isolated crews fending off an alien, but as far as the dynamics between the characters go, there is not much ground for comparison. Even though Alien features a traitor within the group and tension in the chain of command, it doesn't really incorporate the paranoia theme within the group. The Thing does that - you may not think it does so well, but you can't deny that it is an important theme in the film. It forms the basis for much of the character interaction.
     
  17. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    He must be working with Dave, because his hot-headed criticism is certainly drawing me out, too. :lol:

    Fantatic...just relax. We've all got viewpoints, none is right or wrong, and shooting venom everywhere does nothing but stifle conversation. You've got a number of good points (and a bunch totally off mark, too) but the way you're handling it certainly isn't generating you any goodwill.

    First off, about the Carpenter turned action director bit. Take a look at what he made before Halloween. The Thing wasn't a lark, he's been effectively utilizing closed quarters for dramatic tension ever since he was the new boy on the block. You totally missed the boat if you think the film is a shallow yelling match strung along by effects. It's a world of despair up there, and Carpenter certainly shows restraint even when he introduces the band of already withered outsiders. The scenes with Masur and his mutt, Russell in drunken isolation and Carter and his game shows, all provide pretty calm and quiet bits of character development before the "storm". That "storm" is certainly more than just action cliche, too, with a masterfully psychological take on masculinity and authority turned on end. It's AIDS, the Cold War and militarism all in one telling swoop. If that's bad, then I'd hate to see what you think about Rhodes and Day of the Dead...

    I watched The Fog recently, actually, and continue to be distracted by the forced inserts that show a wavering of confidence in otherwise effective subject matter. The group of ghosts are so effective because they are a group bent on vengeance...isolating them in singles removes that power, and conforms to the standards of the time (much like Carpenter would impose on Rosenthal for the same year's Halloween II, before he apparently jumped the shark).

    Look, don't give me the run around here. I want to know what you think. Seriously, I can't even begin to understand any of that hyperbole without further clarification. Each point seems so deliberately contrary to everything that film is.

    Take a breather, then get back to me.
     
  18. old-boo-radley

    old-boo-radley They stay the same age...

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    It's not that I agree with DVD-fanatic, but I get a kick out of the fact he is attacking Carp with words usually reserved only for Lucio Fulci.

    To be fair, I'm not entirely sold on Carp's catalogue. Halloween is eternal, The Thing is great, but after that he's just done a lot of fun flicks. The Fog, Christine and Prince of Darkness all have their flaws (most films do) and are good romps, but aren't on that other level that I would like to see them at for him to have such a huge fanbase. I will admit to really enjoying Vampires, though. And, I've not seen In the Mouth of Madness. Probably should bust that one out.

    It's not that his track record is unimpressive, just not explosively impressive for my tastes.
     
  19. DVD-fanatic-9

    DVD-fanatic-9 And the Next Morning, When the Campers Woke Up...

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    You know, someone accused me of being Rosie O'Donnell on YouTube. Do I need to tell you the same thing I told that fool?



    It's just because everyone says the same thing, as though it were scripted. As though they were all sharing the same brain. :eek2:



    Perhaps you're right. Alien was driven by good acting, and well written characters. The Thing... not so much.

    I'm not saying Carpenter ripped Alien off, though. I've heard people say that Dan O'Bannon (who already, yeah, kind of wrote that famous chest-burster scene after Cronenberg's Shivers) was partly influenced by the Who Goes There? story a little bit. At least, that's the way it had better be. Otherwise, Carpenter did rip-off Alien.



    Yes I do recognize this. But I'm watching the actors playing these "characters," and again- they're behavior never changes. They have zero added intensity to their reactions seeing the thing / these creatures for the first time. And the way they treat each other is pretty much the same, except in certain moments the script says, "jump on this guy" or "try to stab that guy." Right before Clark goes to stab MacReady (right name right?), he's acting the same way he did when Blair asked him about being around the Norwegian dog. And of course, that's just one of "the guys" (aka- the body count). It's the same for all of them. Except for, possibly, Fuchs. But Carpenter's brilliant idea for "that guy" was not to have him talk very much until the script told him it was time for someone to act panicked. None of the tension felt very authentic to me.



    I guess he's a symbol of oppression toward women, and military brutality. I don't know how many soldiers love that movie. I haven't seen it in awhile. It's always bothered me that fans of Romero's gore scenes also seem to love the character just because he's an asshole. But in real life, I don't know one person who would like that guy. So it's over the top, yeah. And yeah it makes Carpenter's The Thing look balanced. I just can't believe no one else noticed that Day is Romero repeating himself repeating himself (all themes of Day were already painstakingly explored in The Crazies, Dawn of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead).

    As for Thing, I'm gay. So, I don't buy that it's AIDS. Funny how some people claim The Thing is an AIDS metaphor as a means of lauding it, but when they do it to The Hunger, it's considered needless and pretentious. Hell, even Cabin Fever could be considered a more effective metaphor for AIDS than The Thing. Like I said before, I don't trust social commentary coming for Carpenter anyway. For instance, could Pro-Life possibly have been a bigger mess?



    Now, there's a good point! The singles thing. But, the fog you see onscreen in those attack / kill scenes is spread out pretty far / wide. Plus there were deleted / outtake footage of the ghosts/zombies hands coming out of the water. So, yeah, singles came out to kill like a typical slasher. But I think everyone knew very well that story-wise, there were plenty more of these things in that fog. Plus, you said it yourself. We already know who these people / spirits are and what they want. So what we see makes sense and in a way, it works better than if the fog had just basically swallowed people up. Not to mention that scene with the Dick Baxter character getting up from the slab and walking around was truly unforgettable and made, I think, the viewer's imagination go even wilder than it probably was already.



    How's this(?) : Christine sucks.



    Well, I finally Netflix-ed the famous Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness and they were pretty darn cruddy. So, I consider his body of work unimpressive. Though, I just started watching Body Bags on YouTube the other day, and "Gas Station" was excellent. I'll try to finish "Hair" tomorrow.
     
  20. Workshed

    Workshed a.k.a. Villyan Shit

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    Nah, he's dwatts' alias whenever he gets tired of arguing one side. Gotta be.


    :glasses:
     

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